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(kray-tee-o): to have power, be powerful

  • Writer's pictureClay Sharman

Say Goodbye to Customer Acquisition and Say Hello to Personal Relationships

It’s no wonder why people hate marketing emails. To marketers, we are prospects, not people. A numbers game. Variables in an If/Then statement: e.g., If I email 10,000 prospects, then I should get around 200 to do something good for us.

woman with folded arms and angry look
"I'm a person, dammit!"

Marketers see prospects as something to be acquired – hence the term “customer acquisition.” Just say it out loud in an empty room. It’s sterile, cold, impersonal. Like the kind of term a large consultancy came up with in the 80s and then charged $50,000 for, that caught on and became the new “it” marketing speak.


Then they created another term: customer acquisition cost. This is how they determine success on their terms. Sigh…more variables in a different formula.


Dear marketers, acquisition is what you do to an object. Not a person. This mindset (call it strategy if you insist, but…) is why marketing statistics are so low and why prospects require so many “touches,” (another marketing term and more numbers!).


But a renaissance is coming.


We are at a time in history where the amount of data available can be used to create understanding, not just study numbers.


Brands and marketers can begin to understand prospects individually, meaning prospects can now be seen...and as people.


And since we know from above that you don’t acquire people, only objects, marketing can shift their mindsets to building rapport instead of sending out more “touches.”


Transactions between people and brands can involve deeper connections instead of simple currency; and lifetime value can replace high volume/low result performance as the prevailing success metric.


In short, it’s time to say goodbye to customer acquisition and say hello to personal relationships.


Cheers to that!

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